The Swedish junior team has gotten off to a hot start to the 2021 World Junior Championship. They’ve come away with a 7-1 win over the Czech Republic as well as a 4-0 win over Austria to start the tournament undefeated. A big reason for this is the group of five Swedish Red Wings prospects all playing in the tournament. Their fingerprints are all over it as they have contributed nine points in two games for one of the tournament’s favorites.
Swedish Red Wings Putting Up Points
The offensive contribution of the Swedish Red Wings prospects has been incredibly noticeable. Lucas Raymond has been playing on the first line with fellow 2020 top-10 pick Alexander Holtz. He has a goal and two assists so far and has created many more chances for both himself and his teammates. He was part of a scary moment in the game versus Austria, however, as he went headfirst into the boards. He was able to return for the start of the third period and scored his goal 12:37 in after a beautiful play from Holtz and Albin Sundsvik.
The much more surprising contribution, however, has come from Raymond’s Frölunda teammates Theodor Niederbach and Elmer Soderblom. They’re playing on a line together and both having a massive impact for Team Sweden. In the opening game vs the Czech Republic, Soderblom had two points including a very pretty goal where he went between the legs. Niederbach had a goal as well which was assisted by Soderblom.
Their contributions continued in game two against Austria. On Sweden’s second goal, Raymond fed Victor Soderstrom who rifled a shot from the point. This shot deflected off the skate of Niederbach and found the back of the net. The whole time, the 6’8″ Soderblom was completely blocking the vision of Austrian netminder Sebastian Wraneschitz. Soderblom created more chances later as he rifled a shot off the crossbar after a slick toe-drag. The broadcast team went as far as to compare him to former Red Wing Tomas Holmstrom. That would make him an excellent pick-up from the 2019 sixth round.
Defensemen Also Contributing
The forwards aren’t the only ones showing up offensively as the two Swedish Red Wings defensemen have also gotten in on the fun. Albert Johansson has played in both games for Sweden and had the primary assist on Noel Gunler‘s opening goal against Austria. He has also played really solid defense for a Swedish team that allowed just one goal in two games. He was able to get more playtime against Austria as their top defenseman, Philip Broberg, missed the game with an injury.
Because of Broberg’s injury, we also saw Gustav Berglund get to make his tournament debut in game two versus Austria. The 177th overall pick from 2019 also contributed an assist as he helped set up Gunler’s second goal of the game. He also played well defensively in helping limit Austria to just six shots on goal in a dominant performance by the Swedes. The attention has rightfully been on the forwards, but the young Swedish defensemen should not be ignored either.
How Far Can They Lead Sweden?
The Swedish Red Wings prospects have played a massive role in the fast start to the World Junior Championship for Sweden. They’ll also be a key in making sure they make a big run. As mentioned earlier, they have nine points so far through two games. In the game against Austria, there was a point on all four goals from at least one of the Swedish Red Wings.
They’ll have to keep up this production if Sweden wants to continue this great form. They have a rough end to the group stage as they play Russia and the United States on back-to-back nights. Then comes the knock-out stage where no matter what, they’ll have another tough matchup. They have a fantastic team and are one of the tournament favorites for a reason. They’ll need contributions from these five players to help make the gold medal a reality.
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